Lafayette DA Update – 2/20/14

Harson-Stutes battle in 15th Judicial DA race heating up

By Billy Gunn

LAFAYETTE — The money is flowing in for this year’s 15th Judicial District Attorney’s race, one that pits a four-time incumbent who is used to running unopposed against his former lead prosecutor, who decided to run in the midst of a bribery scandal that has racked the office.

Campaign finance records show incumbent District Attorney Michael Harson raised $380,825 in 2013, while challenger Keith Stutes collected $208,825.

University of Louisiana at Lafayette political science professor Pearson Cross said the support Stutes is receiving is unusual because longtime local-level officeholders such as Harson often are returned to office as long as they want. After Harson’s first election, where he had opposition, he ran unopposed the next three times.

Though Harson has raised more money, Stutes has picked up endorsements from former U.S. Attorneys Mike Skinner and Donald Washington, who are sponsoring a $250-a-couple fundraiser on May 1 for Stutes.

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